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Common Stomach Bacteria May Fight Off Inflammatory Bowel Disease Caused by Salmonella

Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach bacterium, reduced the severity of inflammation of the colon caused by Salmonella in mice, according to research from U-M Medical School scientists.

More than half the people in the world are infected with H. pylori, although it is very unusual to find it... Read More

Interview: Astonishing, multitalented little bacteria

S.E. Gould, 22, writes the blog Lab Rat ( labrat.fieldofscience.com) and tweets as @labratting. Questions and answers have been edited.

Q. Your blog is a tad cryptic about who and where you are. Are you a university student?

I'm a graduate student working as a research assistant in the pat... Read More

Can breast-feeding prevent whooping cough?

Question asked by Sara of Decatur, Georgia:

I am six months pregnant and have a couple of questions about babies who have recently died from whooping cough in California. How were they introduced to the bacteria? Can breast-feeding prevent this illness?

Expert answer:

Thanks for your qu... Read More

Antibiotics Have Long-Term Impacts on Gut Flora

Short courses of antibiotics can leave normal gut bacteria harbouring antibiotic resistance genes for up to two years after treatment, say scientists writing in the latest issue of Microbiology, published Nov. 3.

The researchers believe that this reservoir increases the chances of resistance ... Read More

Has the US government abandoned gene patents?

In an unexpected move certain to make queasy biotechnology executives reach for their Pepto Bismol, the United States government issued a brief last Friday that strongly argues against gene patents. The position was explained in an amicus brief filed in a high-profile lawsuit over the validity o... Read More

Open-access science publishing: reaching beyond academia?

Who benefits when scientists publish articles in open-access journals? I talked recently with someone who thinks a lot about open-access publishing, and he had some surprising things to say. Phil Davis, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, studies the use and dissemination of open-a... Read More

Vaccines recover from flu crisis

Last fall the nation seemed to be on the brink of a vaccine crisis. Production delays led to shortages of the new H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine. Surveys found that people were confused about who needed that vaccine and who needed the regular annual flu shot. The quick manufacturing process for the ne... Read More

Mozart is music to a microbe's ears

Classical music's ability to stir the soul and lift the spirit is undisputed. But its ability to break down sewage is only just coming to light.

A German company is trialling a sound system that replicates the vibrations and sounds of the concert hall which, when combined with oxygen, helps b... Read More

Human Immune System Assassin's Tricks Visualized for the First Time

Scientists from the UK and Australia have seen the human immune system's assassin -- a protein called perforin -- in action for the first time. The UK team is based at Birkbeck College where they used powerful electron microscopes to study the mechanism that perforin uses to punch holes in rogue... Read More

Europe’s Plagues Came From China, Study Finds

The great waves of plague that twice devastated Europe and changed the course of history had their origins in China, a team of medical geneticists reported Sunday, as did a third plague outbreak that struck less harmfully in the 19th century.

And in separate research, a team of biologists re... Read More

News channel claims superbug could be widespread in India

A British television channel has claimed that the New Delhi metallo-B- lactamese (NDM-1) bacteria could be widespread in Indian cities.

An independent research carried out by Tom Clarke, science correspondent of Channel 4, along with Timothy Walsh — one of the authors of the controversial art... Read More

TWiV 105 Letters

Timothy writes

Dear Vince and Alan,

Being a seasoned virologist and a science writer, I was hoping you could discuss the interface between basic science, public health, the media and the general public...

While I was listening to you d... Read More

TWiV 105: Finches score again

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On episode #105 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Dickson, Alan, and Rich review eradication of rinderpest, endogenous hepatitis B virus in the zebra finch genome, and identification of... Read More

Breakthrough in Hendra virus research

Targeting the "envelope" around the Hendra virus may be the key to effective treatment of the deadly disease, researchers have revealed.

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City have announced a breakthrough in efforts to find a treatment effective against the deadly rela... Read More

Dengue danger: Over 3000 cases across Pakistan

Dengue virus is spreading across the country, as three deaths were reported in Sukkur, Sargodha and Naushero Feroz.

The total number of dengue cases has risen to 2,000 in Sindh, with 53 new cases being reported in Karachi, taking the total to 1,800 in the city.

In Punjab, a total number of... Read More

Transterrestrial Musings' Synopsis of Craig Venter's talk on the role of synthetic biology in space

The blog Transterrestrial Musings' has a synopsis of Craig Venter's recent talk about the role of synthetic biology in space and 'replacing your bacteria for better health, no infections and no cavities'. Read More

Size of Protein Aggregates, Not Abundance, Drives Spread of Prion-Based Disease

Mad Cow disease and its human variant Creutzfeldt -- Jakob disease, which are incurable and fatal, have been on a welcome hiatus from the news for years, but because mammals remain as vulnerable as ever to infectious diseases caused by enigmatic proteins called prions, scientists have taken no r... Read More

Social Media and Microbiology Education

Readers of this blog know that I embrace social media for teaching virology. My experience with two types of social media, blogging and podcasting, has been published as an Opinions piece by PLoS Pathogens (read the full text or download the pdf file). In this article I discuss how social media ... Read More

Haiti's Cholera Epidemic Slows But Stays Deadly (audio)

The cholera epidemic in Haiti is losing steam, although the number of cases and fatalities continues to climb. The disease has killed more than 300 people and sent more than 4,000 people to hospitals and clinics. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Christopher Joyce in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for the... Read More

NASA Studies Body's Ability to Fight Infection

Space shuttle Discovery will bring NASA scientists one step closer to helping astronauts and the public discover ways to battle and prevent serious illness and infection.

When Discovery launches into orbit for its final flight and mission to the International Space Station, currently schedule... Read More
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